James Hill is now being tipped for the very top as Preston North End battle the likes of Rangers and Liverpool for his signature.
The Fleetwood Town defender has been making strides in League One.
Now an England Under-20 international, Hill is showing the potential to play at a much higher level.
The 19-year-old has been featuring as a centre back at Fleetwood, attracting Preston’s interest in the process.
Football League World reported that Preston were keen to sign Hill over the summer.
We understand that to be true, but Preston’s interest faded a little once Sepp van den Berg returned from Liverpool.
North End may live to regret not signing Hill, who is the son of former Preston defender Matt Hill.
The Sunday Mirror (10/10, p64) reported that Rangers, Liverpool and Manchester United are all hoping to sign Hill.
They also carried quotes from Fleetwood owner Andy Pilley, in which he suggested that Hill is ‘destined for the top’.
Pilley noted that many Premier League clubs are now scouting Hill, and it looks like he will leave with his contract ending next summer.
“We know he’s destined for the very top,” said Pilley. “He’s playing regularly in the first team and we believe this helps to get his dream move. We’re at a stage now where we’re literally having to decline scouting request because we’ve virtually got the entire Premier League coming along to watch him.”
“There were two Premier League clubs who made bids for James and there was also a bid from the Scottish Premier League. I wouldn’t like to say who the club were, but unfortunately the bids weren’t of sufficient numbers.”
“It might be that he goes in January, but he’s going to go at the end of the season unless he signs a new contract.”
“It was only just 12 months ago there was talk of him going on loan to the non-league. But he’s made enormous progress and it’s clear that he has become an automatic choice in the starting XI.”
“What represents success for Fleetwood Town is to wish our players well and to watch them on Match of the Day in the Premier League,” he added.
Preston may still hope to land Hill when Van den Berg goes back to Liverpool, but there is loftier interest now, and a deal will be much more difficult.